Being in Barbados evokes all kinds of childhood memories, some great, others bittersweet. Looking at young ladies here brought me back to my own struggles as a young female growing up on the Island. I remembered attending ‘The O’level Institute’ after High School. I was studying Economics and Commerce, as I dreamed of being a Politician. I was a very shy teenager and on my way to school every evening I had to pass a large motor bike group of mostly male riders in the City. They seemed to await me and would hurl all kinds of teases and sexual advances towards me. This made me feel very uncomfortable and It sickened me whenever I thought about going to school. This was one of the reasons that I would drop out of school and I made up in my mind that somehow I had to over come this shyness.
These type of advances on teenagers by an adult male is very common on the Island and throughout the Caribbean. Many of our childhood games, nursery rhymes, jump ropes, and the words we sang and danced to as kids had powers that we were unaware of. This all contributed and normalized things like poverty, broken homes, promiscuity, absent fathers and criminal behaviors. Many of the childhood of young girls were ripped from them as they fell prey to men and suffered all kinds of abuse, both physically and emotionally. Most of these young girls became very promiscuous and were stigmatized and labeled as ‘whore, slut’ and all kinds of degrading names. Many of them engaged in sexual activities way too young and ended up single with many children to care for under the worst poverty stricken conditions.
Women often engaged in many battles as they competed for men against each other. They used their bodies to keep men happy as a way for them and their children to escape the vicious cycle of poverty. This created a climate of hatred, envy and jealousy amongst females. That same hostile environment is still here today, whilst there is a ‘brotherhood’ of love amongst men and young boys, women despise each other.
This got me thinking. About where we are politically, socially and personally. About the rise of misogyny, male domination and the continued decline of self worth, respect, morals and lack of admiration for ourselves and each other as ladies. About our inability to lift each other up, to inspire and to encourage. About where we are heading as women when we are only seen as sex objects. Where videos of young girls engaging in the worst type of sexual acts are shared via social media. What different outcome can theses young girls of today achieve? In reality history is constantly being repeated, back to the days of slavery and the older uneducated Island woman being raped over and over again by the Master and used as a vessel for child-bearing. The woman was reduced to nothing but ‘A Vagina’.
As I write this my mind runs on Billy Ocean and what he was thinking when he wrote and sang ‘Caribbean Queen’ and Luciano’s ‘Mama’. Our own Alison Hinds and Jamaican Richie Spice ‘King & Queen’ was a beautiful tribute to President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama. Now we are ‘Delilah’s’ according to Movado. Vybes Kartel is ratchet in ‘mi meck yah pum pum happy, me meck yah pum pum smile’ and ‘Yah Pum- pum is paradise’ encouraging young women from his prison cell that their Vaginas is here mainly for entertainment purposes. “00h gal you are sumptin sumptin on fleek” the newly youngster Alkaline flashes dollars as the female dancers twerks and splits leaving nothing for the imagination.
It is no wonder that so many of us suffer with insecurities and self doubt. We keep replaying demoralizing lyrics in our heads reminding us that we are destined to fail. Planting seeds of unworthiness, attacks on our identity, confidence, relationships, and most of all our womanhood.
Can we go forward as women witnessing this rapid decline of our future ‘Queens and World Leaders’ in our Homeland, resorting to nothing but ‘tight pussy winers, sprouting nukies’, victims of incest and molestation, rape, sodomy, and all kinds of negative sexual behavior. Does the sexual climate in Barbados and the Caribbean now more than ever promote these patterns of destruction? Maybe this is world-wide, sadly a sign of the times we are living in.
Can we go forward with this obsession for ‘the Vagina’ and not the woman?
‘And the Vagina cries……’Rise up Caribbean Queens….destiny is calling’
‘It is time to effect a revolution in female manners- time to restore to them their lost dignity- and make them as a part of the human species,labour by reforming themselves to reform the world. It is time to separate unchangeable morals from local manners.’ Mary Wollstonecraft.